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2022 Christmas message from Mgr Paul-André Durocher
2022-12-15

2022 Christmas message from Mgr Paul-André Durocher

Welcoming visitors to our homes is part of the holiday season. It means having to clean the house, cook the meals and prepare the guest room. But we don’t mind, because we long to see our guests. Whether it's a friend we haven't seen in a long time, a brother or sister who has come from afar, or our daughter's new boyfriend, we look forward to seeing them, listening to them, and having a great time in their presence. How good it is to welcome others in such moments!

Sometimes, welcoming is more demanding, like when the visitor is a stranger, a person in need or someone who bothers us. I remember participating in a large Scout jamboree that was interrupted by a tornado. Nearly a thousand of us young people became homeless when the wind blew our tents off their poles. Local residents were quick to respond, and I was greeted by a couple who offered me a bed, meals, a phone to call my parents, and some money for unexpected expenses. They could have refused: who was I to this couple, me, a young stranger? But they welcomed me as I was, in my hour of need. How generous it is to welcome others in such moments!

There are unexpected moments of welcome that transform us. Once, a speaker was on his way to our diocese to lead a training session for our staff. Since I had to pick him up late at night at the airport, I offered to let him stay at my place, which he accepted. I didn't expect that the conversation I would have with him would have such a big impact on me. My welcome turned into a moment of encounter that animated me and rekindled my enthusiasm. How life-giving it is to welcome others in such moments!

And how do we welcome Jesus who comes to us at Christmas? Do we take the trouble to prepare ourselves for the festival day simply to have a pleasant time? Do we allow ourselves to be disturbed by others, in a spirit of generosity? Do we allow ourselves to be transformed by an unexpected word that opens up new possibilities for us?

Christmas will take on the colour of our welcome. I hope that it will be warm and joyful for all of you. But above all, I hope it will be a source of new life. After all, that’s why He came!
 

+ Paul-André Durocher
 

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